If you thought that crime in D.C. was bad now, buckle up because the Senate finally decided to do something about it. Because of their last-minute intervention, Washington D.C. is safe – for now – from a radical bill that could have accelerated crime in the nation’s Capitol. Let’s take a closer look at exactly how this dangerous bill nearly became law and why we should all be thankful Congress stepped in when they did before things spiraled out of control!
U.S. Senators voted on Wednesday to disapprove the Washington, D.C., Council’s Revised Criminal Code Act of 2022, which would lower penalties for violent crimes. There were 81 votes in favor and 14 against. To pass the bill, 33 Democrats voted with Republicans.
In February, the legislation passed the House 250-173.
Joe Biden said he would sign the legislation if it passed the Senate in a Thursday tweet that read, “I support D.C. Statehood and home-rule – but I don’t support some of the changes D.C. Council put forward over the Mayor’s objections – such as lowering penalties for carjackings. If the Senate votes to overturn what D.C. Council did – I’ll sign it.”
Under the District Clause of the Constitution (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17), Congress has authority over DC local affairs, and any DC legislation must be reviewed by Congress before it becomes law. DC legislation can be changed or overturned by Congress, and new laws can be imposed by Congress.
The Revised Criminal Code Act (RCCA) was approved by the DC Council in November 2022. Criminal offenses such as carjackings, robberies, and homicide are reduced in penalties under the RCCA. Muriel Bowser, the Democratic Mayor of Washington, D.C., vetoed the bill on Jan. 4. On Jan. 17, the council overrode Bowser’s veto.
In the midst of the debate over the crime bill this week, DC Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee offered a simple solution for reducing homicide: “Keep violent people in jail.”
The number of violent crimes in D.C. increased significantly in 2021. According to data from the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), homicides increased 19% in 2020 and remained constant in 2021. Since 2019, the number of carjackings has tripled.
However, far-left lawmakers are criticizing Congress’ vote to disapprove of the council’s crime bill.
For example, NY Congresswoman AOC tweeted, “We’re disappointed that the Senate voted to repeal DC’s crime bill. Congress doesn’t make legislative decisions for any other city in the United States. There’s no reason why DC should be any different. Residents and elected officials of DC have the right to govern themselves.”
This week certainly saw a bipartisanship victory that saved DC from a certain plunge into chaos. Just when it seemed like the Washington, D.C. Council’s Revised Criminal Code Act of 2022 was forcing its way through and threatening to lower penalties for violent crimes, U.S. Senators came together in an act of bipartisanship to disapprove the bill. This move provided tremendous relief to DC residents who have seen an abundance of violent crime in the city in recent years, including homicides increasing by 19% in 2020 and carjackings tripling since 2019. Senate Republicans led the charge against this bill’s passage as it encouraged criminality rather than working to crack down on current levels of violence. Thanks to their efforts, our nation’s capital will remain safe for another day!
Let’s continue this conversation, in the comments below.